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Reminders About Campus Safety

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

Welcome to the 2023-2024 academic year. The Department of Safety & Security offers these important reminders and updates as we continue to work with University partners to support your safety and well-being so learning, community building, and research can continue to thrive at Northwestern.

Around the clock, every day of the year, we are committed to a collaborative and transparent approach to campus safety that helps foster respectful engagement and equitable services to all in our vibrant and diverse University community.

Immediate action steps

In the event of a campus emergency, Northwestern will automatically notify you through your University email address. In order to ensure timely updates via text and phone, please update your contact information using this guide

You can stay informed about what to do in an emergency by familiarizing yourself with these emergency proceduresThis document has been recently updated and is provided in pdf format for easy downloading and printing.

Important safety reminders

Safety is a shared responsibility. You are our key partners in reducing the opportunities for crime to occur. Being mindful of yourself, those around you and your surroundings can truly make a difference.

  • The most common crime on campuses is theft of property such as wallets, laptops and cellphones. Please do not leave your personal belongings and valuables unattended.
  • Review the updated building access protocols. Community members should carry their Wildcards and remain vigilant when entering buildings through secured doors. Please do not prop open exterior doors.
  • Be aware that phishing attempts offering part-time jobs and other financial investment opportunities are often sent to defraud you.
  • Register your bike and receive a free helmet and light. Review our bike resources, including information for how to purchase a bike lock.

Quick links for community safety resources

  • NUhelp – guide for students navigating Northwestern's safety and wellness resources.
  • NUGuardian – free peer-to-peer smartphone application for Northwestern students to enhance their personal safety by designating phone contacts as “guardians” who walk (virtually) with them.
  • Safe Ride – Student Affairs service available to Northwestern students as a safe and free alternative to walking alone after dark.
  • Free shuttles – transportation provided to the Northwestern community on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses well into the night.
  • Wildcats Aware Reporting Form – reporting tool for the Northwestern community to report if they become aware of someone displaying threatening behavior.
  • EthicsPoint – confidential reporting tool to report fraud, abuse and other misconduct in the Northwestern community.
  • Safety & Security website – complete guide further describing our services to the University community.

Updates on our current priorities

As our campus safety approach evolves, we are committed to continued engagement with you to create programs and improve operations that ensure quality service delivery.

AlertNU, Northwestern’s emergency alert system

We have updated our emergency messaging to allow us to send faster and clearer updates regarding campus security matters, weather-related alerts or other emergencies.

To help you understand and navigate the terminology used in these communications, we have developed a new resource, a glossary of essential emergency terms.

Look for a community message this fall regarding testing for the emergency notification system. Please view the Emergency Management website for more information about emergency notifications.

Building security

On Aug. 31, our Evanston campus transitioned to new security measures that require more regular and frequent use of Wildcards to access campus buildings. More information about the new access hours and protocols are on the Facilities website. This change aims to ensure a safer environment while still providing opportunities for all members of our University community to utilize facilities effectively.

Emergency response planning

In addition to emergency planning exercises, University leadership recently engaged in a simulation exercise to review and enhance the University’s emergency recovery response processes. These efforts reinforce our ongoing commitment to maintaining a secure and resilient environment for students, faculty, staff and guests on our campuses.

Thank you for your partnership in keeping Northwestern safe so that our entire University community continues to thrive. We welcome your feedback at